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[GreenYes] Re: Multi-Family Unit Recycling

Hi Lydia, et al, good thougtful postings by others. here's my blather:

In Orange Co. NC we have a publicly operated multifamily program that
serves over 90% of our multifamily population, ~13,200 units of ~14,500
in the County are in the program We use primarily a series of 95 gal.
roll carts with a source separated approach. We used to contract it
out, but found we can do it better, faster, cheaper, more flexibly
in-house, Fewer negotiations, e.g. shut down of fraternity house
recycling in summer should negate costs, but each 'case' had to be
fought, When we do it ourselves, we just 'know' not to collect those
for two months, etc.

County bills propety owners $14 for each unit/year through the property
tax bill to support about 60% of the program costs, remainder are
through landfill tip fees. It used to be all financed by landfill fees
til we ran out of money two years ago. Two years after implementing the
fee, we've found we really need about $25/unit to fully fund this
particular effort. (We also use fees now for other recycling)

We have had a variety of experiences including the perverse experience
of quality declining in more than one complex after we did intensive
door to door re-education following feedback of low
participation/contamination by our collector. Thus somehow it's not
always education & outreach that save the day. We provide printed and
electronic info in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. All
container signage is bilingual Eng/Span and pictures on all labels on
containers. One site has put up signs in Korean too.

We've had the program in place for 14 years and gradually expanded with
the permission from apartment owners/managers. They sign an agreement
saying they're responsible for replacing stolen carts and removing
contamination that exceeds five items in each cart when they are
notified of these problems by our collectors. We actually rarely
invoke either 'penalty'.

Three times a year we send email as we are student oriented community,
it's at move-in August, Christmas and move-out May to alert the
managers to our program, enable them to request info from us and remind
their tenants to use the various charities to give away their unwanteds
when they leave.

We get about 155 pounds/unit/year average recycling rate. Except for
plastic, sortation is good & contamination is relatively low. We also
have a cardboard ban that apartments must enforce or be penalized by
the waste hauler or they're not picked up. County recycling program
does not collect cardboard, that's separate.

There is no rule of thumb about container placement, some do badly with
containers next to dumpsters, some do better when containers are next
to dumpsters. There is also, from a recent study we did, no 'proof'
that providing each apartment with individual bins is helpful. In 2 of
3 we saw increase, in the third there was a decline after we gave out
containers, so go figure....

Good luck,
Blair Pollock
Orange County NC
Solid Waste Planner

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